March 6th, 2013
11:14 AM ET
10 years ago

Fox News chief's choice words for Obama, Biden and Gingrich

(CNN) – Roger Ailes has never been known to keep his opinions to himself.

So perhaps it's no surprise the powerful boss of Fox News Channel revealed candid opinions of top political figures – including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich – during conversations and meetings that were recorded by his biographer Zev Chafets.

In excerpts of Chafets' upcoming book "Roger Ailes: Off Camera" that were published in this month's Vanity Fair, the Fox News president is shown fiercely criticizing Obama, who he calls "lazy."

The remark came amid an analysis of CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's claims that Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life" (Rosen later apologized.)

"Obama's the one who never worked a day in his life," Ailes said in an exchange with his spokesman, according to the excerpt in Vanity Fair. "He never earned a penny that wasn't public money. How many fund-raisers does he attend every week? How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time. He's lazy, but the media won't report that."

When Ailes noticed Chafets' surprised reaction, the television executive added: "I didn't come up with that. Obama said that, to Barbara Walters."

He was referring to an interview when the ABC anchor asked Obama for "the trait you most deplore in yourself."

"Laziness," the president responded, explaining "There is a deep down, underneath all the work that I do, I think there's a laziness in me. It's probably from, you know, growing up in Hawaii and it's sunny outside, and sitting on the beach."

Ailes was no less forgiving in his assessment of Obama's deputy Joe Biden. During a meeting with staff discussing vice presidential politics, Ailes remarked, "I have a soft spot for Joe Biden…I like him. But he's dumb as an ashtray."

Also on the receiving end of Ailes' blunt appraisal? Newt Gingrich, the former house speaker, who gave up his contributor role at Fox to make a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

In the waning days of his presidential campaign, Gingrich was quoted saying "Fox has been for Romney all the way through," adding that he thought CNN's coverage of the GOP primaries was less biased.

"We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we're more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That's just a fact," Gingrich said at an event in Delaware, according to a report from Real Clear Politics.

"He's a sore loser and if he had won he would have been a sore winner," Ailes said, according to Chafets' biography.

"Newt's a prick," Ailes succinctly concluded.

CNN reached out to the White House and to a representative of Gingrich for reaction to Ailes' comments.

soundoff (484 Responses)
  1. Julian

    Fox News has higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined. So, the majority of the country IS listening. You liberals are too worried about Kardashian's baby. Go and make some money for yourself and stop depending on the government.

    March 7, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  2. Georgia V. Hilt

    Fox should change their name to HATE NEWS. Never have I seen such hateful, inaccurate vitriol spewed in the media such as on Fox. I believe in freedom of speech as well, but Fox seems to have forgotten what words like respect and courtesy mean- especially when it comes to our president.You may not like him, but how about a little common place manners. Fox sinks to new lows everyday. I'd rather watch Ina cook.

    March 7, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. streetdude66

    Rather than research their news stories Murdoch, Hanniddy, O Reilly & Beck (when he was still on FIXed NEWS) admitted that no one should take what they say seriously because they lie for the sake of entertainment. NOW THATS LAZY!!!!

    March 7, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  4. Rudy NYC


    Fox News has higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined. So, the majority of the country IS listening. You liberals are too worried about Kardashian's baby. Go and make some money for yourself and stop depending on the government.
    Listening? I think most of the male viewers are simply watching the skirts.

    March 7, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  5. tas20036

    Except that just because a lot of people watch Fox doesn't make Fox right. And it also doesn't mean that the majority of Americans watch Fox either.

    you do know taht most Fox viewers thought Romney was winning the election right up to Election Night, right?

    You still haven't learned yet, have you?

    March 7, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. Lucky

    Roger Ailes is a bag man. Faux news is not real news..Ailes is good at that, so the interview!!!

    March 7, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine


    Fox News has higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined. So, the majority of the country IS listening. You liberals are too worried about Kardashian's baby. Go and make some money for yourself and stop depending on the government.
    Its easy to listen to propaganda and entertainment masquerading as news, so its natural that Conservatives mistake FOXt for real journalism. Sensationalism repeated over and over will always atrtract the weak-minded, which si what the Right has morphed into. As for making real money, remember the words of Chris Christie about taker states? Who do you think takes more from DC? Its the GOP's powerbase in the South, sucking dollars away from hard working people in states with a higher standard of living and more teeth. The Red states would collapse without their subsidies from DC.

    March 7, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. Republican supporter of President Obama

    I want to see if Sear will do now. If they want to boycott SNL for DJesus Unchained they should do the same for Every single Fox product. Disrespect by the conservative right should not be tolerated at all. There is freedom of speech but one should respect the President – regardless of party and skin color.

    March 7, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. PatheticCNN

    Rudy NYC

    Lazyness comes from Parental Genes and Heredity.

    March 7, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  10. gee

    BIG Money owns FOX. The only thing wrong with this President is he is not a WASP.

    March 7, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. freya

    Fox News has higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined
    Oh Puleease Julian the reason why this is so because Faux news are entertaining. They cater to people like you who only wants what they want to hear EVEN IF IT'S NOT TRUE.. S If they truly want credible news they watch serious network. And by the way. Haven't you heard the RATINGS ARE GOING DOWN. And by the way you and your ilks are the one who love the Kardashian. because if you truly understands the "Liberal" minds as you say it., WE ALWAYS KEEP AN OPEN MIND, SEE TWO SIDE OF THE COIN AND ALWAYS THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. We do not not speculate or cater to gossips like you guys do on the right do.

    March 7, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Chipster

    It's unfortunate that so many people are listening to Fox News because, just like Mr. Ailes, his network provides loads of false and misleading information. Ailes repeats the claim that his network so often makes; that the President has never worked in any private sector job. It's well documented that the President has worked at many part-time private sector jobs while going to school (clerk, construction, general office work) and as an attorney for 11 yrs when he completed his education. If they lie about something so trivial, something they sure know to be false, then why would I trust anything Ailes or his network claims?

    March 7, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. cedar rapids

    'Julian – Fox News has higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined. So, the majority of the country IS listening.'

    And apparently honey boo boo gets 2.3 million viewers, and no one can look away from a traffic accident. Numbers dont really mean a lot.

    March 7, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. Yuri

    The mentally ailing Roger Ailes, has expressed his opinion. BHO's admission of "laziness" not withstanding, the GOP ain't no "brisk bunch" neither. Anyways, one will have to prefer lazies over the GOP morons.

    March 7, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. Drake

    Georgia V. Hilt

    "Fox should change their name to HATE NEWS."

    So, should MSNBC have the same monicker for the things some of their host said (and continue to say, which blows my mind 5 years later) about President Bush. Say what you want about him, he was our President for 8 years. He was elected, and then relected by the people. Were the people wrong then?

    Fact: Fox is biased towards conservatives. Fact: MSNBC is baised towards liberals.

    March 7, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. AEJ

    "Fox News has higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined"???? Really? Since the 2012 elections Fox News ratings dropped SIGNIFICANTLY. The Rachael Maddow Show at 9:00 p.m. and "The Last Word" at 10:00 p.m. Both these shows trounce Hannity at 9:00 p.m. on Fox and 10:00 p.m. REMEMBER RECENT SURVEY SHOWED ONLY 46% BELIEVE ANYTHING REPORTED BY FOX. Your comments showed you are stuck in the past – just like the Republican Party. Lean Forward!!!!

    March 7, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. Chipster

    Most of what Ailes had to say is his opinion and he is entitled to his opinion. However, when he claimed that the President has never worked anywhere but the public sector, that is false. That fact is known and Ailes either didn't bother to check the facts or he is a liar. (you decide-LOL!) He might have missed the record of many part time private sector jobs but the President was an attorney for more than a decade. It doesn't take a lot of research to discover that.

    March 7, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  18. Homer and Jethro

    "this IS the laziest president is memory" You are making yourself look silly. Dubya spent nearly TWO YEARS of his eight hiding in Crawford, riding bikes, eating pretzels, petting goats, and drinking like a fish to the point of not being able to see people when they came to ask him to get back to work. Obama's barely left the building, and you bozos are on this endless whine about Hollywood(Clint Eastwood anyone?) and golf(Gerald Freakin Ford anyone?). If it's supposed to be a "sleight of hand trick," you are too clumsy; we can all see the cards up your sleeve and the pigeon in your coat pocket as you prevent the Chief Executive from running America's business. It's an evil thing to do, and we are going to vote you all out for doing it. Bbye now!

    March 7, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  19. Chipster

    The Kardashians got better ratings than Masterpiece Theater. Quantity doesn't equal quality. Sensationalism is entertaining but doesn't require truth, facts or integrity.

    March 7, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  20. Chuck Anaheim,Ca

    Why would anyone expect anything else to come out of the right wing propoganda machine? They have bashed the President from day one and it wont stop untill he leaves office no matter what he does.

    March 7, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. Homer and Jethro

    " playing to the bottom feeders" Mike and Julian are eating the stuff up!

    March 7, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |

    The majority of fox-spews watcher do not read nor think for themselves. I've read some incredible lies coming from many
    bloggers written as facts and truth from fox spews; for instance "Obama plan to take our guns and our property away" nothing is farther from the truth "Obama had terrorist in the white house" please but, I surmise, anything is true when you don't know what the hell you are talking about and too lazy to research it for yourself.

    March 7, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Grace

    looks like Ailes has a lot to learn from "lazy Obama". Pres. Obama is admitting to one of his weak spot –
    He being 'TRUTHFUL'. U should add that to ur vocabulary.

    March 7, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. Tom

    Roger Ailes calling the President lazy is like a rock complainng that the ground is too hard.

    Ailes caters weak minded unenlighten people. Ailes is a smart business man sellling a product. The product is hate and racism. Intelligence does not beget wisdom.

    March 7, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. outside view


    It's true. I consider myself an avid golfer, and Obama has played more rounds of golf while in office than I have in my entire life. He played all weekend a few weeks back, and I saw a report that he has played well over 100 rounds while in office. I think I have played about 30 in the last 4-5 years. Why don't I play more? I don't have time...
    March 6, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
    LMAO if you only played golf 30 times in the last 4-5 years you might be a avid golf fan ,but not an avid golfer. Have you checked how many rounds of golf that the Speaker of the House or other members of the GOP have played in the same time frame.After all they (the House) seem to have a lot of time off.

    March 7, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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